Exploration of Retirement Planning Attitudes and Behavior

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In the fall of 2010, the CRR sponsored a series of qualitative interviews with consumers on a range of retirement issues. The objective was to explore consumers’ attitudes and behavior toward retirement planning, including knowledge gaps, sources of information, and unmet needs. A total of 70 individuals aged 50-65 were interviewed in three cities (Hartford, Cincinnati, and Phoenix). This report summarizes the interview results.

The key findings of the report, prepared by the Boathouse Group and Plan-it Marketing, were:

1) Pre-retirees have no idea how much the need for retirement, or what steps to take to work toward that amount.

2) Saving for retirement not a linear process. Life expenses (college, the mortgage) cost more than anticipated. And life events (divorce, illness, parents’ needs) force many to start all over again.

3) Pre-retirees are immobilized by emotional factors. They are angry at the government and employers, anxious that they have no safe place to keep their money, resulting in hopelessness and paralysis.

4) Given passiveness in seeking help, an active “push” strategy for delivering information to consumers would be most effective.